On September 23, Salon ran a column explaining that Gabby Giffords tried to play nice in her push for more gun control. Since she failed in that approach, she has now abandoned “civility” in an effort to secure victory.
And Salon says that’s fine. After all, Giffords “is under no obligation to be a Civility Unicorn.”
Giffords is under no contract to serve as mascot for superficial “civility” standards. She tried to approach policy priorities the friendly way, by using her celebrity to unite Democrats and Republicans behind new gun legislation, and it didn’t work. So now she’s approaching them the other: by tying politicians who resist things like expanded background checks to the outcomes of that.
Salon said this after citing Jared Loughner’s January 2011 Tuscon attack, James Holmes’ 2012 aurora theater attack, and Adam Lanza’s Sandy Hook Elementary School attack as justification for throwing civility out the door in the pursuit of more background checks.
The outlet did not mention that Loughner and Holmes both passed background checks for their guns or that Lanza stole his to get around background checks–so no amount of gun control would have stopped him.
And this is indicative of the problem that has haunted Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly throughout their gun control push: their “solutions” don’t solve the problems we face. Rather, they simply heap more gun control on the backs of law-abiding Americans.
That is why they lost on the federal level in April 2013. It didn’t help that the very author of expanded background checks, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), admitted that expanded checks would not have stopped Adam Lanza. And Breitbart News has since reported that the failed Senate bill would not have stopped Elliot Rodger (Santa Barbara gunman), Ivan Lopez (2014 Fort Hood gunman), Darion Marcus Aguilar (Maryland Mall gunman), Paul Ciancia (LAX gunman), Aaron Alexis (DC Navy Yard gunman), or Nidal Hasan (2009 Fort Hood gunman) because all of these men went through a background check for their firearms.
Ultimately, Giffords’ gun control push is a solution in search of problem. And that’s why expanded background checks have morphed into a push for closing the “gun show loophole,” passing new rules for Internet firearm sales, and passing gun control for women’s sake now.
It is also why red state Democrats begged Giffords and Kelly to stay out of their states with November’s midterms drawing closer. And the shift from civility that losing has awakened within Giffords presents a double whammy to red state Democrats like Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Udall (D-CO), all of whom are either down or very tight in the polls.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.